Soldier: No doubts about war in Iraq
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, more than half of America believes the war in Iraq is not worth fighting.
Sgt. 1st Class Guy A. Bradshaw doesn’t agree.
“Absolutely we should be there,” Bradshaw said.
The Craig native has been in Iraq since April and is back in Moffat County for a few weeks of leave.
Bradshaw has been in the U.S. Army for 10 years. He has spent the past three months training the Iraqi Special Police in Baghdad.
“I believe sincerely in our involvement,” he said, as he grilled hamburgers at his parents’ home in eastern Moffat County.
The 28-year-old said he doesn’t doubt the war’s necessity or the resolve of the Iraqis he works with.
“This is a country that wants to fight for itself,” he said.
He said the majority of the Iraqis he has met appreciate the American presence.
“There’s a small minority of Iraqis who don’t think we should be there,” Bradshaw said. But the majority of the insurgents come from outside of Iraq, he said, and, for the most part, aren’t religious fanatics, but common criminals.
Seeing the American media coverage of the war frustrates Bradshaw so much that he doesn’t bother watching anymore.
“The media need an attitude adjustment,” Bradshaw said. “They don’t show the good things.”
An example, he said, is the progress and efforts of the Iraqi military and police.
“They’re bearing the brunt of this fight,” Bradshaw said.
He estimates more than 100 Iraqi soldiers are wounded or killed on any given day.
Working with the Iraqi Special Police can be a challenge sometimes, largely because of the language barrier, but it’s also rewarding, he said.
“It’s like with any ally,” he said. “It’s kind of like a marriage. There’s give and take.”
The Iraqis are especially good at gathering intelligence on foreign fighters, Bradshaw said, because they can tell where someone is from by talking to them, something even the Iraqi-Americans working with him can’t do.
Bradshaw said when his tour is up in Iraq next April, he plans to leave the Army and come back to Craig.
He said he made the decision to leave the Army before he set foot in Iraq.
“I want some quiet,” Bradshaw said.
He entered basic training in 1994, the summer before his senior year at Moffat County High School.
He graduated early and was on active duty by February 1995. When his classmates were graduating high school, Bradshaw was graduating from the Army’s airborne school.
Since joining the Army a decade ago, Bradshaw has spent half his time overseas, serving in Korea, Italy and Bosnia.
“I’m going to come back for good,” he said.
Having spent most of his adult life in the military, Bradshaw knows better than to try to do everything and see everyone when he’s home on leave.
“There are only so many hours in a day,” he said.
Bradshaw said he just wants to relax and spend time with his family, especially his 3-year-old daughter, Lexie Rose.
His mother, Sue Bradshaw, said she’s glad to have her son back, even if it’s only for a short time. “I realize he has to go back,” she said.
When he goes back to Iraq, Sue knows she’ll worry about him. “I worry, like most parents would,” she said. “But he’s pretty good at his job.”
Bradshaw heads back to the 130-degree Baghdad heat this week. Northwest Colorado’s mild temperatures were hard for him to adjust to when he came home last month.
“I was at my sister’s softball game, and I almost froze,” he said.
Baghdad’s evening lows rarely dip below the 100-degree mark this time of year.
“You sweat a lot,” he said. “It wears you out.”
While he has been home, Bradshaw said the support he has received has been great.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Bradshaw said. “It’s nice to come home and be appreciated.”
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